Friday, September 14, 2012

Freezer Meals

I am in love with making freezer meals.  It takes a mountain of motivation and organization but it is so totally worth it in the end.  To have the peace of mind that a home cooked meal is sitting in my freezer on nights when I want my cooking but don't want to cook...priceless!

Earlier in the week, I tossed five giant chicken breasts in the crockpot with some soy sauce, onion powder and brown sugar.  Then I shredded them up and popped it all in the fridge.  I also caramelized up a bunch of onions and sauteed a few green peppers.  Again, to use later.  I did this on a day when I had a little time.  I used some of that for a dinner but most of it was to be used today in making freezer meals.

So this escapade is two-fold.  Most is selfish and for my own freezer.  But I also have a relative who is dealing with a tough illness and in need of a home cooked meal.  So a few of these are for that purpose too.

In total, I made...

(2) Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake
(2) Single Portion Baked Potato Soup (not pictured)
(2) Sweet and Sour Chicken Rice Casserole
(4) Chicken Enchiladas
(1) Par-baked Gluten Free Pizza Crust (not pictured)

Pizza crust story.  So I made a dough recipe but only needed half.  I went ahead and got the second ready and baked it for only about five minutes.  Then let cool and froze and wrapped up.  Now it's all ready to go, just like the ones in the grocery store, when I want to make a quick pizza.  Just add toppings and bake!

Enchiladas.  I make these a lot and the filling changes every single time based on what I have in the house at any given moment.  This time I added organic vegetarian fat free refried beans (I am not an organic snob- these just happened to be on sale), frozen spinach (still frozen because I was just going to pop this all back in the freezer anyway), homemade salsa, chicken, caramelized onions, sauteed green peppers and about one teaspoon of cheese. 

Let me talk about cheese for a moment.  First, I don't usually add it as it's not really needed in this type of recipe.  I mean, there's already a lot of great flavor happening there.  But my best advice when it comes to cheese is to use a bold or sharp variety.  If you use a mild flavor, you tend to need more.  If you use a cheese that's sharp and bold, you can totally get away with adding a much smaller amount.  More bang for your buck in the calorie department.

My second piece of advice when making enchiladas or burritos is to spritz non stick spray between each one.  It makes it a million times easier to serve without them all sticking together.

The pasta bake is what I am giving away.  But it's basically cooked pasta, frozen veggies, chicken, sauted onions and a sauce made from a some cheese, milk, onion powder and seasoning.  I hope it's good- I've never actually tasted it. 

My freezer is FULL!  And my tooties were tired at the end of the evening.  But I have to say that the hands on time it took to make all of these meals, including the chicken, onions, etc, was about two-ish hours.  Give or take 30 mins.  But seriously, that's not a ton of time to fill a freezer.


Jill said...

Wow! Great job! I like cooking, but I never have as much time as I want to do it, and love making a lot at once! thanks for sharing your awesome ideas!

eas said...

Such a great idea !! I need to do this before my baby comes ! Nice work!!

Lori said...

That is so awesome, you are going to be loving your little stash come this Fall! Thanks for sharing your tips! I must do that with pizza dough!

Kate said...

I would love to see more freezer meal recipes. I cook at work but a lot is wasted because H can only eat so much (he's 2) and his parents often pick up their own dinner (ugh-I won't go there!). So anyway I would like to make more meals that can be frozen and reserved.


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